HoRR Welfare Policy

You should, as a matter of some urgency, draw the following to the attention of the person within the club (e.g. Captain , travelling adult(s)) who will have responsibility for the welfare of Junior competitors or Adults at Risk at the Race, parents as appropriate, and anyone else relevant.

The Organising Committee of The Head of the River Race believe that the welfare and wellbeing of all children is paramount. All children, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or ability, have equal rights to safety and protection. All suspicions, concerns and allegations of harm will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

The organising committee of the Head of the River Race is committed to helping everyone in rowing accept their responsibility to safeguard children and Adults at Risk from harm and abuse, as endorsed by British Rowing.

A welfare officer will be appointed for the event and will act as the point of contact for any allegations or concerns. Their contact details will be included in the Competitors Instructions posted on the web site and will be made known to all race officials. In the event of any concerns or incident regarding a minor, please contact a race official, who will be able to direct you to the welfare officer.

Welfare Plan

From December 2009 and until decided otherwise, the welfare officer will be Sheena Cassidy Hope. She will be available throughout the duration of the event and will be contactable by any race official via the radio network . She will determine appropriate action to be taken, and should any incident warrant such action, will be responsible for reporting to the police and the British Rowing child protection officer.

Given the nature of the event, where crews are boating from a variety of locations along the river, it is not possible for the event organisers to take responsibility for security at any specific location. There are host clubs at 10 locations between Putney and Kew and so there is a greater duty on each competing club to safeguard its own members than at an “ordinary” Head with a single boating site. Adults with responsibility for children entered in the event are expected to ensure that boating locations are suitable. Adults – coaches and parents – are also reminded of the need for suitable clothing for the event, given that there is the possibility of a long wait before the start – this is particularly important where, as in recent years, there have been rough conditions and the prospect of competitors becoming extremely cold and wet; it is also the duty of the responsible adult to ensure that no junior competes if he/she is or may become injured or unwell. Crew coaches are further reminded that in rough conditions, it is they who must make the assessment of whether their crew can safely boat and race in the conditions – particularly so where there is a junior cox. Row Safe sections 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 8.1, 8.4 and 9 are particularly relevant. Also, it is the responsibility of a coach or parent to ensure that junior competitors comply individually with RowSafe – in particular, section 3.6 specifies minimum standards that apply to swimming ability.

In the event that a participant goes missing for a period exceeding 30 minutes, the welfare officer should be contacted and she will contact the police if this has not already been done.

The crew contact details entered on British Rowing On-line Entry will be used to contact the adult responsible for any junior reportedly involved in an incident. It is therefore essential that the person entering the crew ensures that a usable contact number for the responsible adult is included in the entry. No individual contact details for juniors will be held by the committee.


1. Your attention is particularly drawn to the need for appropriate clothing for the conditions, bearing in mind the likely time on the water (possibly up to 3 hours) and the variability of wind, sun and rain. This also applies, of course, to adults.

2. The British Rowing minimum standard of swimming ability – which applies to all HORR crews – is:

“All participants in rowing must be able to demonstrate both competence and confidence in and under water by:

  • Swimming at least 50 metres in light clothing (rowing kit)
  • Treading water for at least two minutes
  • Swimming under water for at least 5 metres

Participants unable to demonstrate the minimum standard must wear a personal flotation device” …Where, because of a medical problem (e.g. Epilepsy; Heart condition; Asthma), there is a risk to a participant becoming unconscious or immobile, an automatic lifejacket must be worn.”


3. All competitors in the event may be photographed by amateurs, or professionals who sell their photographs, and these photographs may be used for identification or publicity purposes. HORR cannot prevent this, as the Surrey bank and all four bridges are open to the public. Competitors will be made aware of this and should not enter if this is of concern.

4. OVERNIGHT STAYS. The Head of the River Committee is aware that those travelling a significant distance (or from overseas) with junior competitors (i.e. those under the age of 18) are likely to have organised a residential stay and we draw the responsible adult (club captain, coach, parent)’s attention to the guidance provided by British Rowing on residential trips with Juniors (available at British Rowing Guidance WG4.1 to 4.5 : has well as the general guidance on safeguarding the welfare of Juniors on the British Rowing website (BR Policy section 4.5).

5. The Organising Committee is aware that alcohol will be available for purchase at most host clubs. They are also likely to be serving food from the same location, so exclusion of juniors will not be practicable. Those travelling from overseas are reminded that English law on selling alcohol is very clear about under-18s; they may enter a bar but may not drink alcohol – whoever buys it. The various issues arising are set out in British Rowing Guidance WG 3.3. Host Clubs are reminded of their duty to safeguard under 18s using their facilities. The responsible adult for any junior competitor is reminded to ensure that more senior members of the crew do not purchase alcohol for the under 18s.

6. With reference to BR Guidance WG 3.4, please be aware that the majority of non-school host rowing clubs do not have separate changing/showering facilities for juniors. We are making enquiries of host clubs as to whether they will be able to offer facilities for juniors and the details of any such clubs will be set out below, once known. All competitors are reminded to respect the changing room protocol for their host club.